Prayers of Thanksgiving & Intercession

For the week leading to Sunday, March 29th. Written by John Clement.

Let us pray.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
be thou our guard while troubles last
and our eternal home.
[1]

God of compassion and grace who works in the power of love, we come to you now in deep distress as we grapple with a pandemic that is shattering the routine of our lives leaving us confused and afraid. In our prayers, we barely know where and how to start. Please, oh please,

Gather us in, ground us in you. [2]

Help us to remember that in ages past we, as a people, have been here before and that you have always been with us in our suffering. Our parents/grandparents/great grandparents endured the First World War and the devastating influenza outbreak of 1918, survived the Great Depression and World War II. We are all your children and in your love we are strong.

You will guard us through our troubles with COVID-19, you will answer our prayers when we ask for what we need. Help us to recognize your grace when it comes. Your promise is not that the faithful will be untouched by the suffering of the world but that, as Paul tells us, you will keep our hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus. [3] Safe hearts and minds to calmly address our world-wide, Canada-wide, community and family challenges, acting in the spirit of caring and compassion for ourselves and all others, coming together emotionally and spiritually even as we must maintain a safe physical distance.

We pray for and thank you for frontline health workers, political leaders and health officials and for police officers, fire fighters and paramedics who cannot stay at home but must keep protecting us. We thank you for your spirit of giving in often unsung heroes whose contribution is so important: cleaning staff, delivery truck and transit drivers, postal workers, retail workers in food and pharmacy outlets and so many more.

We pray to achieve the delicate balance between self-isolation and the acute danger of substance abuse and domestic violence facing isolated families where relationships are toxic. The delicate balance between self- isolation and distancing and an economy that is plunging to unimagined lows.

We pray for, and dedicate ourselves to helping as best we can, all woes of life unrelated to the novel coronavirus – people facing other health problems, hunger, the violence of war that seem to be always with us.

Our hope for years to come

We thank you that you give hope, that you are hope. May your hope shine in our hearts like the flame of the first candle of Advent. Because of you, we know that the future is never closed, that guided by your spirit working in us, we together will create the conditions for something new to appear to build a better future.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come.
‘tis grace that brought safe thus far,
and grace will lead us home. [4]

Glory and gratitude and praise
now let earth to heaven raise.
Glory and gratitude and praise:
These we offer to God. [5]

Amen.

__________________________________________

[1] Words by Isaac Watts, 1719, Voices United #806.
[2] Words and Music by David Hann, More Voices #7.
[3] Philippians 4:6-7. Today’s English Version.
[4] Amazing Grace, words by John Henry Newton, Voices United #266.
[5] Words and music by John L. Bell, Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community, Glasgow, Scotland.

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